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My mum wants to die and it’s all she talks about

(60 Posts)
Betty65 Tue 25-Jan-22 17:26:11

My mum is 89 and is now in a wonderful nursing home. She has vascular dementia and mixed Alzheimer’s although does still have enough mental ability to liaise with others. The dementia, I believe started around 15 years ago but went undetected until a couple of years ago. During these 15 years it’s been very hard - she has been borderline vile on many many occasions which is so hard as my mum was the best mum you could ever have and I loved her dearly. She has lots of illnesses including losing the ability to walk and it seems that she may now have bowel cancer, although she is not aware of this yet. Such a roller coaster. For the past few months her only conversations with me are the same and only about dying. She asks, what will you do when i am dead, you can have some peace when I am dead, I just want to die. Please let me die. These are a only a few of the death conversations but despite my reassurances and trying to change the conversation- we always go back. It’s getting me down and I have to find a way to cope with this as she cannot change. Last night I had a mega panic attack which has prompted this post. Any help gratefully received.

JaneJudge Tue 25-Jan-22 17:30:05

Betty, I'm very sorry for what you are going through flowers

You MUST ring your GP and talk to someone.

CarersUk should have a local group to you too who will be able to help.

janeainsworth Tue 25-Jan-22 17:34:38

It’s heartbreaking Bette, my sympathy.
Is there anything that lifts your mum’s mood? Does she have long-term memory - would it help to look at old family photos & reminisce with her?
What about music? Sally Magnusson wrote a book about coping with her mother’s dementia & compiling a playlist of music from her mother’s youth helped her.

Callistemon21 Tue 25-Jan-22 17:37:38

So sad Betty65 and I feel for your mother as well as you.

I am sure the nursing home is doing their best but perhaps you could talk to the manager and see if your Mum would benefit from anti-depressants.
And make an appointment for yourself too to see your GP as JaneJudge suggests.

Living long is not always rosy and most of us wouldn't want to be living like that.
It is so sad.

Betty65 Tue 25-Jan-22 17:42:16

Sadly the long term memory is sketchy at best, I have tried the photos but it’s like she can’t be bothered. I do like the music idea and will happily try it. I have not contacted my doctor as I would not like to be put on medication

SueDonim Tue 25-Jan-22 17:49:13

Betty that’s so very sad. Don’t bear this burden alone. Speak to someone, your GP, a social worker, a support group in your area, anyone like that. flowers

Hetty58 Tue 25-Jan-22 17:52:26

Does she see your GP - or the one allocated to the home? Either way, arrange to be there when they visit her. You'll be able to let them know how she is (have a private conversation away from her).

She may have pain that's not under control and/or depression (common at that age) and often, the elderly don't express themselves well to doctors. If anti-depressants would lift her spirits, I see no reason for not liking them.

Kali2 Tue 25-Jan-22 17:52:50

This is so so hard for you, and I feel for you.

But your mum is entitled to feel this way. She is aware of what she has lost and what is ahead of her, and feels 'what is the point'. My mum was the same. I am a member of Dignity in Dying, and I fortunately live in a country where that choice would be mine. Can you not understand this?

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 25-Jan-22 17:54:32

I'm so sorry to read about your problems with Mum Betty. Please do think again about contacting your doctor. I have had depression for many years and the medication I have helps me enormously. It's nothing to fear or be ashamed of, same as with any other medical condition. Anti-depressants may help to lift your Mum's mood too.

janeainsworth Tue 25-Jan-22 17:54:41

Betty my mum was like that - just couldn’t be bothered & didn’t want to know. The first link I posted is to a film Sally Magnusson has made & the second is to the charity she founded - you might find the info on there helpful.
I do hope things get a bit better for you and your mum.

Dinahmo Tue 25-Jan-22 17:55:59

You are not alone in this. When my Mum had Alzheimers, many years ago she started to talk about dying. This was in the fairly early stages when she was often difficult. Sometimes, when we were out, if we were crossing a bridge she used to say "I'd like to throw myself off" and I used to think to myself " For f...s sake do so" . I never uttered those words.

My mother did change and she became sweet and gentle.

Before she died she developed pneumonia and the doctor told us they would do nothing other than try to drain her lungs if she went to hospital. She stayed in the nursing home and my sister and I were with her all the time for her last week which was more peaceful than if she'd been in hospital.
The staff in the nursing home were very kind to us whilst we were with her.

My FIL decided when he reached 90 that he no longer wanted to be here and in fact he started talking about a booth where you could put in some money and take out a pill. He had a TIA and was taken to hospital and he also had bronchitis. It was thought that he might have mesothelioma and they wanted our permission to do a biopsy, under general anaesthetic. By then he was 92 and we didn't see the point and so we refused. They looked upon us as if we were murderers. He'd been unhappy and wanted to go. His DW had died some years before and most of his family too.

Please try not to let this get to you any more. I think that the Alzheimers Society will have someone understanding that you can talk to. Many of us will have experienced this so you are not alone.

I wish you well

Luckygirl3 Tue 25-Jan-22 17:59:32

It is very sad - but maybe she is right. Maybe life has just become too much for her - too unbearable. My grandmother came to that decision and simply decided to stop eating and drinking - I admired her bravery and her clear-sightedness.

Maybe all the things that gave her life meaning are now lost to her. Are there things that she is able to enjoy still? - TV, music, art, company?

My OH reached the point where there was nothing that gave his life meaning that was left to him - he could not stand or walk, play his violin, enjoy films on TV, feed himself, go to the toilet, and he had lost his grip on reality believing that he was being cut up and put down the sewer. When pneumonia arrived we took the decision to regard it as the Old Man's Friend and not to send him to hospital for heroic efforts to drag him back to his miserable existence - and in a lucid moment he endorsed this.

Life has to have some meaning to be worthwhile and it sounds as though that is how your Mum feels. You have not failed her - she does not feel like that because of something you have done or not done - she is simply trying to live in a body that has worn out. No amount of good care can change that fact.

The combination of physical failure plus mental loss is unbearable to live with and I know how very hard it must be for you to watch over this. It is, as I know only too well, truly agony.

Make her as comfortable as you can; hold her hand; play her music that you know she loves.

Of course take medical advice about whether anti-depressants might help her, but do not expect miracles from that = old people react very differently to medication and it is hard to get the right drug at the right dose - we went through that all to no avail.

Get her all the help available; but please do not see her desire to have an end to her suffering as a failure on anyone's part, especially not yours.

I am so sorry that she, and you, are going through this. flowers

Caleo Tue 25-Jan-22 17:59:54

There are two main practical questions.

Is your mother sufficiently aware to consent to doctor assisted dying? And can she afford the £9,000 approximately that it costs to go to Switzerland to Dignitas?

I think to answer the first question you may have to consult a solicitor.

I am very sorry for your mother and hope her suffering will soon be over.

Dinahmo Tue 25-Jan-22 18:00:39

I've just read the other posts. So many and there were none when I started to type. Music is a good idea. My mother did not know who I was - she just knew I was connected to her. But when Songs of Praise came on the radio she would sing along, remembering all the words.

Janet Street Porter when talking about aging once said that the people running care homes would have to re-think their choice of music for our generation - no more "Daisy Daisy" but plenty of rock and roll!

Redhead56 Tue 25-Jan-22 18:05:29

My mum had vascular dementia and cancer but pneumonia ended her life. She had terrible moods it was heart breaking. My lovely mum was someone else and could be quite nasty to me.
Is there know one else who can visit rather than you going all the time? I live ten mins away from my mum's former house and the nursing home. I was going everyday but it got so bad I had to keep away a few days a week.
That's what I honestly recommend you do for your own sanity. Eventually mum was very ill and died in hospital peacefully in her sleep. My heart goes out to you as I know what you are going through take care of yourself.

BlueBelle Tue 25-Jan-22 18:05:45

My mum found great comfort and companionship in a doll I asked her to look after the ‘baby’ for me and for her last few years she was never without a doll occasionally when she got angry about something she would sling it across the room but most often it was loved and rocked, burped, and cuddled I had to craftily change it over sometimes so I could wash it
I wonder if this would help your mum

Juliet27 Tue 25-Jan-22 18:07:14

This has reminded me that I should look into completing a Living Will.

Caleo Tue 25-Jan-22 18:09:30

BlueBelle, a doll. What a good idea! I wonder if there are lifelike soft dollies that can be taken to bed and cuddled.

Smileless2012 Tue 25-Jan-22 18:10:27

I'm so sorry to read this Bettyflowers it must be breaking your heart.

Smileless2012 Tue 25-Jan-22 18:11:52

Just seen your post BlueBelle and agree that a doll is a brilliant idea.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 25-Jan-22 18:16:37

A doll is a lovely idea. Or one of those pretend puppies/kittens I have read about which seem to breathe and make little sounds?

Betty65 Tue 25-Jan-22 18:22:09

Funny there is a lady in the home with a doll and my mum calls her mad so don’t think that will work. At the moment the care home is on COVID lockdown and I am the only one allowed in as they say she is one palliative care due to the looming cancer. My brother is in Spain so that’s difficult too although he does call her twice a day and gets the death conversations too. I think as I am the closest it affects me more

BlueBelle Tue 25-Jan-22 18:26:18

My mum just had an ordinary doll from the charity shop but you can get really lifelike ones or even a dog or cat if she loves animals it can just give her a purpose even if we know there is no real purpose

BlueBelle Tue 25-Jan-22 18:30:50

But is your mum calling the lady mad because she has a doll or some other reason Maybe my mum was further down the line with Alzheimer’s it was just a thought
Is she able to do anything I think I d want to die if I was just sitting in a care home staring ahead with nothing to do Have you tried giving her any activities colouring or just asking her to help fold things or put things away Sorry if these have all been tried but it’s about her needing a purpose and they re just ideas

Baggs Tue 25-Jan-22 18:33:41

Excellent post, luckygirl.